Palmer Hayden

7 07 2015

Palmer C. Hayden (January 15, 1890 – February 18, 1973) was an American painter who depicted African-American life. He painted in both oils and watercolors, and was a prolific artist of his era.

Hayden took his inspiration from the environment around him, focusing on the African American experience. He tried to capture both rural life in the South, as well as urban backgrounds in New York City. Many of these urban paintings were centered in Harlem. The inspiration for “The Janitor Who Paints” came from Cloyde Boykin, a friend of Palmer’s. Boykin was also a painter who supported himself through janitorial work. Hayden once said, “I painted it because no one called Cloyde a painter; they called him a janitor.” Many people consider this painting to be an expression of the tough times Palmer was having.

I love this guy’s story telling.





Palmer Hayden

16 11 2012

Some of his paintings are uncomfortable. They almost seem like racial stereotypes. But as you explore more of Hayden’s work you can see him as a chronicler, telling the stories of those who lived in the same streets as himself. Like Breughel, Hayden brings out the human everyday lives of common people.

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